How to fill those empty seats

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I’m a truly terrible cook married to an amateur gourmet chef.

Recently I decided to wow my wife by making something on the stovetop. Soon after I began, a terrible burning smell filled the kitchen and my wife rushed in to discover that I’d turned on the wrong burner and instead of heating my food, burned her carefully curated collection of antique dishtowels. Sigh. This is standard culinary practice for me.

While I’m washed up as a chef, in a career sense I don’t think I’m coasting, and I’m turning 59 this month. In fact I feel like I’ve just started to figure it all out. And it’s only taken 35 years. Like everyone my age, I’ve learned a few things during that time.

So, before you automatically look to hire someone between 28 and 44 who has “gas in the tank” and isn’t looking for a job to “coast into retirement” with, consider this:

The average age of a Fortune 500 CEO is 57.7

Employees aged 55-64 stay in the same workplace for 10.1 years on average (much longer than their younger counterparts)

By 2025, workers over 55 will represent 25% of the workforce

People over 40 are 3x more likely to create a successful company than younger people are

Read more about the advantages of hiring older workers in HBR here:

Have you ever thought of hiring an older worker for that empty role? Demographics alone mean that you should start considering this as an option. Everyone’s looking for that 28-44 year old demographic. Maybe it’s time to employ a “blue ocean” strategy and look where others aren’t.

There are lots of older workers, they’re often overlooked, they’ve invented our current world, and while some are looking to coast, others are looking to contribute to the world but aren’t sure exactly how. Their whole lives they’ve been told that they’re done at 65. But lifespans are increasing, health is much better, and we need the workers. Badly.

Plus, work gives meaning and purpose and we all need that.

So, think through those older workers who are outstanding people. What’s your amazing high school history teacher doing these days? How about that early career mentor you owe so much to? Your recently retired neighbour? Maybe they’re available and excited to get to work.

For me, the end of the tour is when they lower me down. There are lots of people out there like me. Maybe you should consider giving them a shot.

Getting ahead is about getting started,

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Written by Trevor Throness
Trevor is a veteran coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book “The Power of People Skills” released by Career Press NY in 2017. He’s also written for or been featured in places like Forbes, Inc, The NY Post, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, CEO Magazine, and numerous podcasts and interviews.


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